The USA have claimed the opening tie of the 2017 Hopman Cup tournament in Perth, taking an unbeatable 2-0 lead against the Czech Republic in the mixed doubles event.
After Coco Vandeweghe beat Lucie Hradecka 6-4 6-2 in the women’s singles, world No.23 Jack Sock claimed a 7-5 3-6 6-3 victory over Adam Pavlasek.
With a world ranking of 75, the 22-year-old Czech held his own, conceding break points in only one game of the first set, then sending down seven aces to win the second and levelling the match.
He sent down more aces (11-6) and fewer double faults (2-9) than his more fancied opponent.
However, Sock registered fewer unforced errors in the third set, allowing him to claim victory.
Earlier, Vandeweghe, the world No.36, converted three of seven break points to dispose of her 166th ranked opponent in 69 minutes.
“I played a decently clean match. It’s always going to be a little bit interesting your first time out on the court. A little pre-match jitters but I thought I did a good job,” she said.
“I felt a few pressure situations.”
Hradecka, who replaced world No.11 Petra Kvitova in the unique mixed-team tournament, held her own in the opening set, but trailed early after dropping her second service game. Her 12 unforced errors to Vandeweghe’s seven was the difference.
She sent down eight aces, to Vandeweghe’s seven and while she managed two break points of her own in the second set, she was unable to convert either.
The USA have won the event a record six times in its 28 year history. Vandeweghe doesn’t plan on taking a back seat to teammate Sock as they try to claim a seventh title.
“We’ve really been successful here,” she said.
“Jack’s kind of got the experience card since he played last year. I am kind of the newbie, following his lead so to say.
“I think maybe, hopefully, that’ll change and he’ll follow my lead a bit out there.”